Fantasy Football Sleepers 2013: RBs That Will Out-Perform Their Draft Positions
The key to winning fantasy football is getting good value for players during the draft, so make sure you make the right selections in the middle rounds.
While everyone can guess that players like Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster and Ray Rice will be elite players, it is more advantageous to grab guys a few rounds later or for less money in auctions that will still perform at a high level.
Last season, players like Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley provided a lot more value to those who were able to secure elite talent at other positions before grabbing the two youngsters.
With this in mind, look to grab these players in your upcoming fantasy drafts this summer.
Chris Ivory, New York Jets
Last season, Chris Ivory was hardly utilized but did a good job when he was on the field for the New Orleans Saints. He finished the year with 217 yards on 40 carries for an average of 5.4 yards per rush. This brought his career average to an impressive 5.1 yards per carry.
This is a number the Jets would have dreamed about last season, with Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell averaging under four yards per carry as the primary running backs.
Greene is now with the Tennessee Titans, leaving plenty of opportunity for Ivory to take over the starting job.
A year ago, New York had the sixth most rushing attempts in the NFL as they looked to take the pressure off the quarterback. With Mark Sanchez either remaining the starter or rookie Geno Smith taking over, that number should only increase this year.
Ivory has the talent and he will get plenty of carries. As long as he stays healthy, he will be a solid factor in fantasy football.
Andre Brown, New York Giants
With Ahmad Bradshaw gone, the New York Giants will likely use a two-headed attack with Andre Brown and David Wilson sharing carries. Based on the way the year ended, most fantasy owners are siding toward Wilson as the featured back.
However, a look at their season side-by-side shows that Brown was the more useful player while healthy. Wilson did not start putting together big performances until Brown was placed on injured reserve after Week 12.
Head coach Tom Coughlin has a lot of trust in the big running back because he runs hard and did not fumble once last season.
Additionally, he was the go-to man near the end zone, and totaled eight touchdowns on the year compared to only four by the skinnier Wilson.
While the Giants will likely give more carries early on to the former first-round pick, Brown still has a lot of usefulness on the roster when healthy. He will likely be a late selection in fantasy drafts, but his role on New York will give him a lot of value this season.
Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
It is not often a great move to draft a player that is clearly No. 2 on the depth chart. LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in football, but Bryce Brown will still get plenty of time to shine.
New coach Chip Kelly loves utilizing his running backs as much as possible, and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur already said that the Eagles will utilize both players often during the year.
Last season at Oregon, Kelly had one of the best running backs in the nation in Kenjon Barner, but he still spread the ball around to the rest of the roster. Here is a look at the distribution of carries for the Ducks:
As a comparison, Michigan State's Le'Veon Bell represented 77.6 percent of rushing attempts for the Spartans.
In the NFL, Kelly should be able to run the ball almost as often, although many carries that went to the quarterback (Marcus Mariota) will likely go to the second-string running back.
When Brown does get the ball, he has proven the ability to come through with a big game. In Week 12 and 13 when McCoy was injured, the young player totaled 347 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
Philadelphia is certain to have a dominant rushing attack this season, and Brown will provide fantasy owners with great value.
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